For men or women, from the original Alice in Wonderland novel to the Disney animated classic to the Tim Burton 3D extravaganza, Mad Hatter costumes have been popular for years and still are. You can buy, rent or make a costume - go on your own or as part of an Alice in Wonderland-themed couple or group outing. It's a look so distinctive, there will never be any doubt as to who you are, regardless of how "mad" you choose to be.
The Basic Mad Hatter Costume
The hat is the most imporant part of a Mad Hatter outfit. You simply cannot be a mad hatter without displaying your wares. Hatters indicated their profession by wearing their creations with a price tag stuck in the band. It was said that many hat-makers suffered neurological damage due to mercury poisoning, as mercury was used to cure the felt - hence the common phrase "mad as a hatter." This was the idea adapted for the character by Lewis Carroll in the novel Alice in Wonderland. His large hat features the tag "10/6," meaning it costs 10 shillings and sixpence. If you are to be the Mad Hatter, you must wear a top hat with this tag in the band!
From there, the rest of the costume can vary. Traditionally, the Hatter wears a coat, vest and bow-tie. His shirt has a high collar. In the original Sir John Tenniel illustrations for Alice, the bow-tie is oversized and polka-dotted. The Tim Burton Hatter also sports an oversized tie. Colors and patterns can vary, however. So long as you have the hat, coat, tie and vest, you are unmistakably the Mad Hatter.
Buying or Renting
There have always been Mad Hatter costumes available to buy or rent. Now, since the recent Tim Burton film, there are a whole new set of costumes available, designed to make you look like Johnny Depp's incarnation of the Hatter. At Buy Costumes, you can get a deluxe version of this costume. It includes a velvet jacket with lace trim and multicolored ribbon accents, a faux pink silk shirt and purple vest front, an oversized bow tie in black with yellow print and pinstriped trousers with floral accents. It's topped off with a huge brown top hat with a peach silk band and the famous price tag. Attached to the hat is wild orange hair. Add your own white makeup and you are set to go crazy.
If you prefer a more classic, but decidedly insane, look, Buy Costumes also has a Mad Hatter outfit in wild shades of plaid. The yellow shirt front is attached to a green plaid vest and orange plaid jacket with purple lapels and yellow cuffs. The oversized bow-tie is striped, the iconic hat is purple with a yellow band. The costume is finished with purple trousers.
Make Your Own Costume
You can put together your own hatter costume to suit your style. A Mad Hatter getup is one of the easiest to make from thrift-store finds. You may need to spend a bit more money on the top hat, but a mismatching coat, vest, shirt and tie will be easy to assemble - and they don't even need to fit well!
Props and Friends
You may wish to add to the costume with the Hatter's teacup and saucer - although perhaps not the tea itself. The Hatter has two tea companions: the March Hare and the Dormouse, who can also carry cups. Of course, you may also add Alice, the Queen of Hearts and any other citizens of Wonderland who want to play along, turning it into a giant group costume. It will no doubt be very fun and mad indeed.